How To Keep Track Of Your Calorie Intake

Calorie Counting
Losing weight does not have to be a complicated process. It can be as simple as using your common sense and knowing some basic health science.

Open any fashion magazine and you’ll find an article on “the best diet ever!” or “the most effective exercise regimen.” But more often than not, they fail to produce the promised results. Another “trick” most people believe should work is denying themselves of their guilty pleasures. But, again, this “sacrifice” do not always reflect on the scales.

With all the hype about losing excess weight and keeping fit, it’s a wonder why few people succeed in finding a diet regimen that works for them. The problem lies in the fact that many people underestimate how much calories they actually have in their diet. In the US, it is estimated that for each person, the food supply has 3,900 calories per day. However, men claim to consume only an average of 2,618 calories per day, and women only 1,877 calories. They do not realize that their estimates are a big way off because they do not consider the large portions of meals they actually eat.

Basic health science, and basic common sense, teaches us that to lose weight, we have to burn more calories than we consume. But it is important that we know how much we have to burn without becoming emaciated.

Calorie Calculation

You can calculate an estimate of the total number of calories you need to maintain your current weight. Given that you are moderately active, the basic formula is to multiply your current weight in pounds by 15.

If you are 150-pound woman, with a height of 5 feet and 2 inches, that means that your are 12 pounds over your ideal weight for your height. Using the formula above will give you an estimated 2,250 weight maintenance calories that you consume daily.

With this weight estimate, your calorie consumption should be reduced by 500 to 1,000 calories daily, to lose an average of 1 pound a week. This is a healthy rate of weight loss. Aside from decreasing your calorie intake, moderate exercise is also necessary to reach your goals.

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The qualification to be considered moderately active is doing a 30-minute cardiovascular exercise routine daily. This should induce sweating, heavier breathing, and a stronger and faster heart rate. The calories consumed during exercise are added to the number of calories that your body continuously uses to keep your organs properly functioning.

Keep a diary of your daily total calorie consumption. This will reflect the high-calorie components of your diet. You can use this diary, together with a reliable dietary guide, to plan healthy, low-calorie meals. Do not forget to check the nutritional labels of all the ingredients you use to prepare your meals. You should also factor in their calorie content. The healthy minimum calorie consumption for women is 1,200, and for men it is 1,500. Do not overdo your diet plan by going below the minimum recommendation. Your goal is to stay healthy, not to get sick.

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Metabolic Rate

The rate at which our body efficiently burns energy even when at rest is our basal metabolic rate. This is what determines our weight gain or loss and the factors that contribute to our metabolic rate are different for every one. The basal metabolic rates of some people are influenced by their fitness levels; others need to combine lots of physical activity with a strict diet regimen.

Choosing to follow a diet plan should not be based on what’s currently fashionable. It also should not be a short-term commitment. To see results, you should commit to carry it through for a long time. But don’t push yourself too hard, ease your way into it by modifying your eating habits gradually. This will make it easier for you to maintain your healthier eating habits.

Don’t overdo it!

Doing anything in excess of what is recommended can only result in your plan backfiring. You may get too obsessed with counting your calorie intake that you end up with a diet that is lacking other important nutritional elements. You are taking it too far if you’re always punching calorie numbers on your calculator each and every time you eat. Do not forget that losing weight should not compromise your body’s health. It is more beneficial and healthier to combine weight management with regular exercise.

You can avoid obsessive-compulsive tendencies and still achieve your goal. Here’s how:

  • Eat smaller portions.
  • You will burn off more calories by eating low-calorie but filling foods that are based on whole grains and legumes especially when eaten with foods that are fiber- and protein-rich.
  • If after eating a meal you still feel hungry, opt for a cup of veggies rather than a chocolate ice cream dessert. The former is just as filling but with less calories.
  • Always choose lean meat and remove excess fat before you cook your meat.
  • Be aware that low-fat dairy products may not have the excess fat but compensate for the loss of flavor by having sugar added to them. This adds calories to the products and should be factored in.
  • How the food is prepared and cooked determine the amount of calories it contains. So stay away from fried foods, fast foods, and processed foods.
  • Always stick to your meal schedule. This will help you avoid binging or snacking, which will disrupt your entire meal plan.
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